How to Crow Hop in the Outfield in Softball

Imagine this scenario: You’re sprinting back for a ball at the fence and the runner from second base is heading home to win the game. How are you going to give the ball enough power to throw her out at home? The answer is simple — you’re going to crow hop.

A crow hop is one of the greatest, and perhaps simplest, skills in an outfielder’s repertoire. Essentially, a crow hop is a leap forward that gives a player enough momentum to make long throws from the outfield to the infield.When an infielder fields a ball, she needs only to shuffle or step forward towards her target to get the necessary power behind her throw. But in the outfield, the distance to a target is often much greater, so she needs more than a shuffle behind her throw — she needs a crow hop. Follow the simple directions in this guide, and you’ll have a crow hop you can rely on to get your throws where they need to go.

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3

The steps for a crow hop are simple: Lead with one foot in front of the other, land, and then step through. Follow the steps closely. Practice slowly at first with little to no momentum. As you get more comfortable with the steps, add more speed so that the motion actually involves a hop. When you’re ready, crow hop at full speed, and then add in a ball!

  1. The throwing-side foot leads: Bend your knee and bring it as high as you can. At the very least, your knee should be bent at 90 degrees so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Then, work on getting it even higher (think midway between your hip and chest). The higher your knee, the farther and stronger your crow hop will be.
  2. The back leg follows: Once your throwing-side foot reaches the highest point of your hop, your back leg follows. This leg needs to get as high as your throwing-side leg.
  3. The back foot lands, then throw Once your back foot lands, throw!
  4. The front foot follows through: After your back leg lands and you’ve released the ball, follow through with your front foot to ensure that your throw is on target. Allow your momentum to bring you forward. Some people drag their throwing arm on the ground in front of their opposite foot. Others, however, have such momentum that they fall forward — this is okay!

Practice Your Hops

Some players think they are crow hopping, but their actually just shuffling their feet — their feet never leave the ground. Cones are great tools to use when learning how to crow hop. Having objects to jump over will help you learn how to crow hop correctly:

  • Line up three or four cones to create a wall, and then stand right behind them.
  • Push off your back foot and go into a vertical crow hop.
  • Try to bring your knees as high as possible.

Once you’ve done the vertical hop a few times, try a few more with the goal of hopping high and far:

  • Start a few feet behind the cones and run up to them.
  • Once your glove-side foot lands behind the cones, push off your back foot and go into your crow hop. This time, try to hop for height and distance.

Hop & Throw!

If you want to throw out any base runners, you need to know how to crow hop correctly. These steps are simple! Start stationary until you get more comfortable, then put a little momentum behind it and run into it. Once you’re comfortable enough to use it in a game, you will need to use your crow hop any time you catch a pop fly or a do-or-die grounder. So practice the motion and get used to incorporating it. To be a good outfielder, you need a good crow hop.

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